Thus it’s strange to read Serwer dismissing “the idea that economic suffering could lead people to support either Trump or Sanders, two candidates with little in common” — since if you just listened to their public rhetoric, Trump and Sanders did have a lot in common, with Trump deliberately positioning himself in territory close to Sanders on a range of economic issues. (And foreign policy issues, and attacks on Washington corruption, and more …)

That this positioning from Trump did not appeal to minority voters because it was intertwined with racial agitation is not surprising; that it was an important factor in understanding the class dynamics of white voting still seems obvious. Simple explanations are rarely complete explanations, but when a candidate makes many more populist promises than is usual for a Republican, and then wins more working-class votes than is usual, the straightforward explanation — that the promises actually resonated with voters — probably contains a lot of truth.